Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2010AZ380B

Perflouronated Compounds in Arizona Groundwater: Sources of Contamination

Institute: Arizona
Year Established: 2010 Start Date: 2010-03-01 End Date: 2011-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,061 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,455

Principal Investigators: David Quanrud, Leif Abrell, Robert Arnold, Eduardo Saez

Abstract: This project is motivated by recent (2009) recognition that the trace organic contaminant perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is present in potable Arizona groundwater sources. PFOS was detected by the Tucson Water Department in their Microconstituent Sentinel Program this year, in all four groundwater production wells tested, at concentrations ranging from 3.9 to 65 ng/L. There is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health-based advisory guideline of 200 ng/L for PFOS. PFOS was added to the Safe Drinking Water Act Contaminant Candidate List 3 (CCL3) in 2009. PFOS and a related compound, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are perfluorinated anthropogenic chemicals that are very persistent, suspected human carcinogens with half lives in the human body of 4-10 years. The proposed project is designed to identify major source(s) of PFOS (and possibly PFOA) in ground water in the Tucson Basin. The project will support development of a broader effort to investigate the causes and means for preventing PFOS/PFOA contamination of ground water in southwestern urban areas. Measurements will yield data that informs the public regarding potable water quality characteristics and establishes whether these chemicals are attenuated during infiltration/percolation for groundwater replenishment. The project represents an initial step toward a PFOS/PFOA management strategy serving all communities that rely heavily on ground water to satisfy their potable water requirements.